Billy Budd | Critical Essay by William Bysshe Stein

This literature criticism consists of approximately 20 pages of analysis & critique of Billy Budd.
This section contains 5,884 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by William Bysshe Stein

Critical Essay by William Bysshe Stein

SOURCE: “Billy Budd: The Nightmare of History,” in Criticism, Vol. 3, No. 3, Summer, 1961, pp. 237–50.

In the following essay, Stein offers a stylistic analysis of Billy Budd, focusing on the role of history in the story.

The question of Billy Budd is the question of historical authority and justice. Only in this view does the novel possess a unity of form, for then each digression from the central action mediates the moral significance of the hero's fate. The total structure thus can be reduced to a design of interacting perspectives, the logic of which determines the way Melville says what he has to say. But even though the artist is the ultimate architect of this house of fiction, he assigns its building to a first-person narrator. And since this surrogate re-creates the past in order...

(read more)

This section contains 5,884 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by William Bysshe Stein
Follow Us on Facebook